How to Set up a Recycling Bin by ecycler


How to properly setup a recycling bin in an office or restaurant (versus at home).

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									How to Set-up a Recycle Bin

Setting-up a recycle bin in a business (store, restaurant, office) or an institution is not as simple as
your home recycle bin. Several factors including placement and signs are important to their
Recycle Bin Placement

Something not everyone knows about recycling is that water and soda bottles should be emptied
before being placed in recycling bins.

Full bottles, or bottles with any liquid in them, mean extra weight in the trucks that transport
recyclables – and the more a truck weighs, the more gasoline is consumed, making the whole
process less environmentally friendly.

When we set up some recycling bins at a conference we experienced the non-empty bottle
problem. We setup up wireframe style recycling bins that hold a trash bag. Throughout the day we
watched the bags fill up. When we went to take
down the bins at the end of the day we almost
could not pick them out without the trash bag
breaking. We found that many of the beverage
bottles were more than half full!

To encourage people in offices and public places to
properly recycle their plastic bottles, ecycler
recommends placing recycling bins next to sinks or
drains so that people can empty the bottles first.
Or, placing a sign on the recycling bin to remind
people to empty their bottles before depositing
them in the bin.

Also, the recycle bin should be placed near to a trash can. Some people are creatures of
convenience and will not seek out the garbage can if the recycle bin is more convenient for their
dumping. In that case, garbage will end up in the recycle bin and can possibly taint the recyclables.
Recycle Bin Liners

What’s the point of a recycle bin liner? Despite the extra cost, the liner keeps the bin clean. It also
makes it really easy for the collector to grab the contents of the bin.

This is an important point, especially in a public (restaurant, shop, etc.) setting. The liner keeps any
wasted liquids contained and it keeps all the bugs out. A clean (even hygienic) bin will continue to
look nice and be an inviting asset to one’s store or

The ecycler collector will be able to more quickly
remove the contents of a bin that has a liner,
rather than transferring the contents into another
bag or a larger container. The transfer process not
only adds time to the collector’s duties, but the
noise (especially from aluminum cans) is an
unwanted side-effect.

We, at ecycler, suggest using compostable liners–
obviously a better choice for the environment. Or,
at a minimum, liners that are manufactured with
recycled plastics. The liners should be thick enough to resist tearing when the full bags are
transported. A thickness of about 1.25 mil should be sufficient.

We’ve found that green or blue liners tend to reinforce the recycling idea. And, ideally the liners
will have the universal recycling symbol printed on it.

Ideally you will find a liner made specifically for your recycling bin; otherwise, you can use a 30 or
33 gallon trash bag.

Recycle Bin Labels and Signage

When recycle bins are installed, one needs to clearly explain what is intended to be recycled.

                                                The bins should be clearly labeled with what is
                                                expected to be recycled. For example, “Aluminum
                                                Cans ONLY!” or “Office Paper ONLY!“. People will
                                                only know the rules if you explain the rules to them.

                                                   It is also a good idea to supplement the recycle
                                                   bin label with some simple signage, as this will
                                                   reinforce the message of the labels. But, don’t
                                                   write a novel on the sign, as people will never
                                                   read it! Just a few words to describe what should
                                                   be recycled in this particular container. Attach the
                                                   sign to the wall just behind the bin. Of course, it’s
ideal to print the signs on 100% recycled paper.

Recycle Bin Materials

Recyclables can be placed in many kinds of bins. There are high-quality stainless steel receptacles,
such as those found in commercial spaces and public transit depots. There are bins found in public
parks, offices and outside municipal buildings. There are blue ones, green ones, yellow one, red
ones and white ones.

Some are made of corrugated plastic, others of formed plastic. Some have separate compartments
for different kinds of recyclable items such as aluminum cans, newspaper and bottles. Others are
simple bins, like the kinds many cities give to homeowners, in which all recyclables are tossed.

Occasionally, bins are fashioned from wood and may include a lock to prevent animals (bears)
from making a mess.

Office paper is usually placed in blue trash-can like bins that a company picks up and removes for

The type of materials from which a recycle bin is made is determined by the type of environment
in which the bin is to be placed.

Whatever the kind of bin a home, office or public facility uses, the important thing is to encourage
recycling by placing a container, clearly marked with a recycling symbol, out for people to see in
high-traffic areas.

The Lesson

We’ve helped to set-up hundreds of recycle bins over the year, our best practices can be
condensed to the following five points:

   •   Bottles and cans should be emptied before placing them in the recycle bin
   •   Place a trash can near to the recycle bin for convenient disposal of trash in the appropriate
       receptacle and recyclables in their bin
   •   Bins should have liners
   •   Apply short and descriptive labels and signage to and around the bins
   •   Right materials for right situation

                              Good luck with your recycle bin!
For More Information:

Sample Signage:
Twitter:          @ecycler

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